About Us

There are a variety of ways to experience the Creative Writing program at Salem State outside of classes. Read Red Skies, the student produced e-zine, or Soundings East, the student edited, nationally distributed literary magazine. The Writers' Series invites published authors of short stories, biography, poetry, and memoir and essays to read their work at free readings on campus every month. Each year, the program celebrates its own with an undergraduate reading, a graduate student reading, and a faculty/staff reading of original works.

First Annual Claire Keyes Poetry Award Winner Announced

The first winner of  the Claire Keyes Poetry Award is Georgia poet Amy Pence. Massachusetts poet Joan Houlihan served as the judge for the competition, which will be held annually. The competition is endowed by Marblehead poet Claire Keyes, professor emerita at Salem State Universtiy. Keyes taught poetry for many years and edited the university's literary magazine Soundings East, which will publish Pence's winning poems in its fall issue. The award also includes a $1000 prize.

Amy Pence is the author of the poetry collections Armor, Amour (Ninebark Press, 2012), The Decadent Lovely (Main Street Rag, 2010) and the chapbook Skin's Dark Night (2River Press, 2003). Her poems have appeared in a wide variety of publications including: New American Writing, The Oxford American, The Antioch Review, and Quarterly West. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in Silk Road, Poets & Writers, and The Writers Chronicle,among others. [It] Incandescent, her hybrid book on Emily Dickinson, was a finalist for Tupelo Press's Snowbound Chapbook Award and the Colorado Prize for Poetry. She earned her M.F.A. from the University of Arizona, and she teaches in Atlanta. She lives in Carrollton, Georgia with her husband and her daughter.

The two runners-up were Scott Withiam of Marblehead and Tania Pryputniewicz of Coronado Island (San Diego), California.

The competition also includes a $200 prize for Salem State undergraduate writers, judged by poet Colleen Michaels of the faculty of Montserrat College of Art. This year's winner, Felicia Connolly, will also represent Salem State University on April 23 at hte Greater Boston Annual Undergraduate Poetry Festival, hosted by Boston College. Connolly, a senior, is from Attleboro.

The undergraduate runners-up were Kalin Chamberlain, Victoria Nicolau and Kayla Russell.

Honorable mention awards went to Vincenzo Cunsolo, Nicole Fishkind, Yoselyn Guzman, Daniel Jennings, Rachel Schmeid, Jessica tower, and Lauren Vinciguerra.